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Sam Houston letters

Identifier: MSS-0706

Scope and Contents

The collection contains copies of letters written by Texas statesman Sam Houston from Huntsville, Texas, in the 1850s. They are addressed to "My Dear Miller" (1853) and "My Dear Smith" (1856 and 1857). The letters discuss political figures in Washington and in Texas.


  • 1853-1857


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Sam Houston was born in Virginia on 2 March 1793, to Samuel and Elizabeth Paxton Houston. After migrating from Virginia to Tennessee and then to Texas, Houston became a key figure in helping Texas win its independence from Mexico in 1836, and then in the annexation of Texas into the United Stated in 1845. He was the first and third president of the Republic of Texas (the Texas constitution did not allow a president to serve consecutive terms), and between terms served as a representative in the Texas House of Representatives for San Augustine.

After the annexation of Texas in 1845, Houston was elected to the United States Senate, where he served for 13 years, when in 1859, he was elected governor as a Unionist. Upon election, he became the only person in U.S. history to serve as governor of two states (he'd served as governor of Tennessee from 1827-1829, as well as the only governor to have been a foreign head of state. Although he was a slave owner and opposed abolition, he even moreso opposed the secession of Texas from the Union.

When, on 1 February 1861, an elected convention voted to secede from the Union, and Texas joined the Confederate States of America on 2 March 1861 (Houston's 68th birthday), Houston refused to recognize the legality of the rights of the convention. However, the Texas legislature upheld the legitimacy of the secession. The political forces that brought about secession were also powerful enough to have the Unionist governor replaced as well. Houston chose not to resist, and on 16 March 1861, he was evicted from office for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy. He returned to Huntsville, Texas, where he remained with his third wife, Margaret Moffette Lea (of Marion, Alabama), until his death from pneumonia on 26 July 1863.


0.05 Linear Feet (3 items, 10 pieces ; photostats)

Language of Materials



Letters from Huntsville, Texas to "My Dear Miller" and "My Dear Smith."




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Processed by

S. Braden, 2008; updated by Martha Bace, 2012


Guide to the Sam Houston letters
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266